Teacher candidates can apply their professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills delineated in professional, state, and institutional standards to facilitate learning. They consider the school, family, and community contexts in which they work and the prior experience of students to develop meaningful learning experiences.
Initial Teaching Programs
Assessments of professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills of initial programs are based on the unit conceptual framework and the standards and guidelines outlined in Nebraska Department of Education’s Rule 24: Policies and Regulations for Teaching Endorsements. Nebraska Department of Education professional education standards are a modified version of the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) Principles that are incorporated into the knowledge base that serves as the foundation for our conceptual framework. Nebraska does not have a professional and pedagogical knowledge exit exam for any of the initial level programs. Therefore, there is no available test data that is applicable to initial level professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills.
As a part of the Education program core course sequence (See CSC General Bulletin, 2005-2007, p. 163-165), candidates gain professional knowledge and introductory pedagogical knowledge, skills, and dispositions. In EDUC 130: Intro. To Teaching, PSYC 230: Education Psychology, EDUC 224: Multimedia Support of Instruction/Learning, and SPED 230: Intro. To the Exceptional Learner an introductory knowledge of professional organizations and standards; professional ethics; bias and discrimination; educational philosophies; major historical events; effective teaching and effective schools; role of local, state, and federal governments; social forces; culturally diverse populations; and the use of technology are included in these courses. In EDUC 300: Observation and Participation [O&P], candidates are placed in school settings specific to their endorsement areas, working with licensed teachers, paraprofessionals and students to gain further first-hand professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills, and to observe how these skills are put into appropriate practice. Candidates are evaluated by these classroom teachers, and are required to complete observation reports, and asked to respond to specific situational scenarios during an O & P exit interview.
Prior to application to the Professional Year, initial level candidates must document a minimum of 75 (secondary) or 100 (elementary) hours of field experience in addition to maintaining and minimum grade point average of 2.50 in all Education course work. One hundred percent of the candidates meet this requirement before admission into the teacher education program’s Professional Year. (See NCATE Standard 1-A for complete description of field experience requirements.)
As part of the Professional Year (Block semester followed by teacher interning semester), candidates gain experience in demonstrating their professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills. Candidates at the secondary level are required to provide three lessons during their Block semester, two of which are videotaped. Students complete a self-reflection assessment piece, and the Department faculty member provides written assessment feedback as well. At the elementary level, candidates develop and present lessons on a variety of topics, each receiving feedback from departmental faculty. Elementary (including Early Childhood and Middle School) candidates also participate in Project Wet and Project Wild; both are environmental Education workshops resulting in applied units of study. At both the elementary (including Early Childhood and Middle School) and secondary levels, candidates put these lessons into practice during their teacher internship semesters, thus providing candidates with an authentic assessment measure of their professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills. The Teacher Work Sample [TWS] also provides assessment feedback and verification to faculty on candidate’s knowledge and skills in lesson preparation and delivery methods. The TWS allows candidates to demonstrate their ability to analyze contextual factors such as community and school attributes, prior student learning differences, adapt and deliver lessons based on their knowledge, assess student learning, and reflect upon their ability to teach all students.
During the teacher internship experience candidates routinely apply and are assessed on their professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills. CSC teacher interns are placed in a wide variety of settings from smaller, isolated rural schools to larger, urban schools. Candidates are expected to exhibit leadership qualities and competence in any of these settings. Cooperating teachers within the school site classroom provide daily feedback on professional pedagogical knowledge and skill development. Cooperating Teachers formally submit intern evaluations twice during the internship experience. Supervising faculty from CSC also submit the Teacher Intern Checklist for each of their five visitations. Lastly, teacher interns are also asked to provide a self-evaluation twice during their internship semester. Items relating to professional pedagogical knowledge and skills are listed in Table 1.17: Mean Ratings for Conceptual Framework Components Relating to Professional and Pedagogical Knowledge and Skills Items from the Teacher Intern Checklist (Documents Center).
Aggregate ratings for the conceptual framework components that include specific items relating to pedagogical content knowledge indicate a high level of preparation for candidates at all levels. Mean scores ranged from 3.22 to 5.0 with the vast majority of the means above 4.0, indicating candidates are performing at the "beyond expectations" (4) level (5-point scale) as assessed by cooperating teachers, college special and general methods supervisors, and the students themselves. Data show that cooperating teachers rated candidates at the 4 or 5 level (5-point scale) in all conceptual framework components from Spring 2003 through Spring 2005.
Initial level program candidates also must complete the CSC Teacher Intern Guidebook (cover page, TOC page 1, TOC page 2) (secondary level) or Checklist (elementary/middle level) during teacher interning. Activities in this Guidebook require candidates to demonstrate competencies in safety procedures, discipline policies, legal issues, teaching methodologies, assessment measures and policies, supplies and resources, use of technology, developing professional relations, multicultural diversity, licensure, and interviewing. This Guidebook is reviewed for progress and completion during three CSC supervision visits, as denoted on the Teacher Intern Checklist. Guidebooks are also reviewed during the intern’s mid-semester seminar meeting on the CSC campus, and eventually evaluated in its entirety at the completion of the internship experience. The Elementary Education Checklist requires candidates to demonstrate competencies for in-depth, individual reading assessment, specific teaching methodologies (science, language, mathematics, Project Wild/Wet/Learning Tree), assessment procedures, professional relations, multicultural diversity, and developing learning centers.
During teacher interning candidates must meet the diversity assessment criteria as determined by a lesson plan and a presentation. Additionally, candidates must demonstrate professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills through preparation of their Teacher Work Samples [TWS] (TWS, Rubric). Every factor in the TWS relates to professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills. Detailed information included in Table 1.4 Means Scores for Teacher Work Sample (Documents Center) and described in previous sections in Table 1.4a Mean Score for Teacher Work Sample Summary indicates that candidates performed at the acceptable (3) level overall with the means very close to the proficient level (4) (5-point scale).
Follow up studies of initail program graduate and their employers provide information regarding candidates’ professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills. Table 1.18: Mean Ratings of Professional and Pedagogical Knowledge and Skills Items of Initial Program Candidates from Graduate and Employer Follow-up Studies (Documents Center) lists items from the most recent graduate and employer follow-up studies that relate to professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills. Candidates (graduates) and employers rated the all items at the "acceptable" (3) or "beyond expectations" (4) level. Mean scores near or above the "beyond expectations" (4) level indicate a high level of professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills. Employers generally rated professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills of initial program graduates higher than did the graduates themselves. Employers rated three items (#8, #9, and #10) relating to evaluation slightly lower than 4.0, possibly indicating an increased need for evaluation expertise among P-12 teachers. Developing the TWS task is designed to increase candidates’ preparation in using data to guide instruction. This program change was based on data and feedback from P-12 school partners.
Advanced Programs (Teaching )
Chadron State College offers one degree program for advanced preparation for teachers--the Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction at the Elementary and Secondary levels. (The specific description of program requirements appears in NCATE Standard 1-A.)
As Nebraska does not require a content or professional skills exam for teachers completing a masters program test data are not available. Professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills of Curriculum and Instruction candidates are demonstrated through the NDE evaluation of the program, coursework assessments, graduate portfolio, comprehensive oral examinations, exit GPA requirements, and follow-up studies.
All Curriculum and Instruction [C&I] candidates are required to document adequate preparation in the proposed area of specialization as described in the candidate’s plan of study. (See previous sections for specific curriculum requirements and procedures.) Professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills of candidates in the Curriculum and Instruction program are specifically related to Chadron State College, Nebraska Department of Education, and national standards. Course syllabi validate that professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills are related to the conceptual framework and applicable standards.
Follow-up studies of recipients of the Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction (Elementary and Secondary) and their employers provide information regarding candidate professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills. At this level professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills are more developed than at the bachelors degree level and are closely integrated with content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge due to the opportunity and expectation of professional practice as part of the requirements for the Curriculum and Instruction degree. The professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills component is based on Nebraska Department of Education Rule 24. The assessment instrument is tied to NDE Rule 24 and the CSC conceptual framework. Table 1.19: Mean Ratings of Professional and Pedagogical Knowledge and Skills of Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction--Elementary and Secondary Recipients from Graduate and Employer Follow-up Studies (Documents Center) lists items (#5, #8, #9, # 10, #12, #13, and #14) from the most recent graduate and employer follow-up studies that relate to professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills. C&I graduates and employers rated overall pedagogical content knowledge as 4.47 and 4.76, respectively (Scale of 1=low –-5=high). Employers’ ratings tended to be higher than the graduates’ self-evaluation. Both groups rated professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills at a high level.
Table 1.19a: Mean Ratings of Professional and Pedagogical Knowledge and Skills of Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction--Elementary and Secondary Recipients from Graduate and Employer Follow-up Studies (Summary)
Curriculum and Instruction master’s candidates also demonstrate professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills through exit GPA requirements (Table 1.7: Mean Exit GPA for Masters of Education—Curriculum and Instruction Graduates), course assignments (Syllabi are located in Documents Center.), comprehensive oral exams, and graduate portfolios. Graduate candidates develop a portfolio containing major assignments from graduate courses with reflections on their learning tied to the conceptual framework. At the time of the comprehensive oral exam, the committee reviews the portfolio. The committee judges the portfolio as well as the performance on the oral exam on a pass/fail basis. Candidates who do not pass the oral exam or present a sub-standard portfolio must complete a plan of remediation developed by the committee, before continuing toward degree completion.